It's nothing like I thought it would be...
I'm quickly approaching my one year publishing anniversary. I have grown so much in the last year sometimes I cringe at all the rookie mistakes I've made along the way. Typically I will joke about how I could write the book on everything not to do when deciding to go indie and publish myself. It used to really bother me. Sometimes it still does but not nearly as much as it used to.
One thing I've learned is that being an author is nothing like I thought it would be. Some good, some bad. Mostly good.
The biggest thing is that writing is the easy part. (Yes you read that correctly.)
I sort of made the decision to publish my own book impulsively. I say sort of because last year (2017) I went to four different book conventions as a reader. I loved it but I wanted more. I'd been writing stories as long as I have been them. So after spending three days at a book thing I decided I was done being scared. Done making excuses. I'd had a handful of manuscripts finished so I was going to do it.
I had days of panels with authors both traditionally and indie published. I felt like I knew enough to blindly feel my way through the process. I snagged a pre-made book cover. (The designer is amazing. So amazing that I used her sample title for my unnamed manuscript!). I bought my domain and designed a very basic website (it's still a work in progress). Ordered some swag. (Pens and bookmarks!!!! That I gave out like I was making it rain). I did all the business stuff setting up vendor accounts and the like. Tweaked my manuscript. Set up my Facebook, Goodreads, and Amazon author pages.
Made some very rough teasers. (I have improved my game some by now but I know there is still A LOT to learn). And I shared my shoddy teasers with every Facebook blog that had teaser Tuesdays.
All the while I was working on a self imposed deadline that was already set because I had preorders and surprise surprise I was actually getting preorders. Little ole nobody me.
I had NO idea what I was doing. What I was getting into. Not really. I liked the book. I still like the book. I couldn't really tell you why I choose this particular book over others I had "ready". It wasn't ready. It still really isn't ready or where I want it to be. It could use more editing. But at some point I knew I had to just let go and do this.
Release week I was nervous, excited, scared. My mom bought me two bottles of wine to celebrate. My husband was supportive and took over taking care of our son at night so I had time to work on all things authorly as I like to call it. The day the book released I had met my sales goal for the entire year. It wasn't a high goal. It was enough copies to cover the cost of publishing.
Then something crazy happened. I sold more. I was doing the very minimum marketing because I didn't know what marketing was. That is still a work in progress.
I was over the moon. I got a couple of great reviews. Then the bad review hit. It was horrible. A one star on amazon that left me a crying mess for two days. Not even BOTH bottles of celebatory wine helped. My husband was getting worried. My son (who was 2) was a bit concerned. My mom forbade me from reading any more reviews. I was ready to just ditch the whole dream. (Which is something the reviewer commented about. Yea it was harsh. Waaaayyyy harsh.)
Then something else happened. Someone that read my book took the time to find my poorly made website and reached out to me. She liked my books. She really liked my book. She liked it enough to ask when and where I would be doing a book signing so we could meet. I call her my super fan. I don't think she realizes how much she inspired me to keep on going. (If you're reading this you know who you are and one day we will cross paths!)
I found an editor. Joined the RWA. Made some corrections to my book. Got writers block. Realized my goal of putting out four books last years was laughable because I'm not that kind of writer. I don't have that kind of time. I struggled with imposter syndrome. Met some AMAZING writers. Found a critique group. Sold a few more books. Wrote. Learned about marketing. Learned some more things I had been doing wrong.
This path I am on is nothing like I thought it would be. I tend to be hard on myself but I'm learning that isn't going to help me on this journey. I've made a lot of mistakes. But I've learned a lot.
The author community was a scary place a year ago but homey now. I'm still learning. My writing is getting better. I am getting more confident. I can't wait to see where I am another year from now.